Here then, we dispel the myriad myths, rumours and hearsay when it comes to making a personal injury claim.
I’ll have to go to Court
The very notion of going to court can seem frightening and intimidating, and it can be enough to put people off making a claim altogether. However, the reality is that it’s very unlikely your case will ever go as far as a contested trial.
The majority of personal injury claims are actually settled out of court, as most insurers simply want to avoid the inconvenience and expense of court proceedings, preferring to settle it amicably.
I’ll have to pay massive solicitors’ fees
Absolutely not. Legal aid for personal injury claims were stopped in 1995 in England and Wales and replaced by the introduction of No Win, No Fee arrangements.
Precisely as the name suggests, under our No Win – No Fee scheme, if you don’t win your case then you don’t have to pay a penny to us. If you do win your case then the solicitor will take a percentage as his success fee – but you’ll receive at least 75% of the compensation awarded.
The claim will take years to resolve
It’s not anyone’s idea of a good time to be involved in a protracted personal injury case that drags on for years, so it will come as a relief to know that the majority of claims are sorted out pretty promptly, generally within 8-12 months.
Claims for more serious injuries that necessitate a longer period of recuperation and medical treatment can take take longer – but that’s for the claimant’s benefit as you only get one bite of the cherry and settling too early can be dangerous.
On the longer running cases we can often get an interim award of compensation.
The legal process can be extremely complicated
Contrary to popular belief, the legal process is actually a lot simpler than many people believe. True, initially a certain amount of time will be taken up by completing paperwork and a medical examination is usually necessary.
Once that’s done, however, there’s generally not that much for you to do and your solicitor will do everything else to ensure you get the best level of compensation possible.
If I make a claim against my employer I’ll lose my job
Nobody really wants to upset the applecart and it might be of concern to some people if they make a claim against their employer.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of employers will understand that if you’ve been injured in the workplace its your right to make a claim and will do their best to remain helpful and cooperative. Employers should be insured against injury claims, so the claim is usually sent off to the insurance company who then deals with it on the company’s behalf.
All solicitors are out for get what they can get
When it comes to bad press, solicitors suffer just as gravely as journalists and politicians. Often considered to be arrogant, self-serving, and out-of-touch, solicitors regularly feature in scaremonger stories about exploiting the victim and cunningly hitting them with hidden fees.
These perceptions have increased following the Government’s de-regulation of legal services and the rise of the unqualified ‘claims management companies’ who advertise so heavily.
Unfortunately we do come across some bad practice within the industry, but it’s not as widespread as people think. It is important for people to choose their lawyer carefully and ensure that they are specialist solicitors who are properly insured and regulated by the SRA.
Insurers will deal with the case, so who needs a solicitor?
Nowadays insurance companies are a lot more proactive when dealing with personal injury claims.
Insurers are keen to avoid claimants appointing a solicitor and will often encourage people to settle direct.
The main aim of any insurance company negotiating a claim is to save money, with staff specially trained to keep pay-outs to an absolute minimum.
You should therefore be wary if an insurance company encourages you to settle your claim without input from an independent lawyer. You could lose out financially if you do not have a specialist solicitor to fight your corner to get you a proper level of compensation.
Nowadays everyone’s making a claim for anything they possibly can
Perhaps the biggest myth of all is the misconception that the UK is facing a tsunami of ethically and morally dubious compensation claims.
Consumer website Which? has stated
“Despite claims that the UK has a ‘compensation culture’ the total costs of compensation cases in Britain has stayed the same since 1989. Which? believes it is important to tackle such claims, because they can create the impression that it’s wrong to seek redress”
The insurance industry has been keen to portray personal injury claimants in a negative light. Could this possibly be because they will save money if fewer claims are made?
With a team of specialist solicitors experienced in all aspects of personal injury law, we’re proud of our impressive track record of getting clients the compensation they deserve.